OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) says than 1,100 homeowners insurance claims have already been filed in relation to Wednesday’s storms.
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak wants to make sure tornado victims get the help they need.
“Tornadoes are a devastating act of Mother Nature that Oklahomans are all too familiar with. After seeing the damage in Sand Springs and Moore, I know it will take a while for these families to recover,” said Doak. “We want to make sure these folks have their insurance claims handled promptly and fairly.”
OID has set up booths to help storm survivors. The booths are located at the Serve Moore Community Renewal Center, 224 S. Chestnut Ave. and the Foundation Church, 7785 S. Highway 97, Sapulpa.
They offer these tips if your home was damaged in the storms:
- Call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible. Ask what forms, documents and information you will need to provide in order to process your claim.
- Take photos and/or video of the damage.
- Make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage to the property. Examples include covering broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls. Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement with them on the cost of appropriate repairs.
- Save all receipts including those from the temporary repairs that might be covered by your insurance policy.
- If your home is damaged to the extent that it is unlivable, ask your insurer if you have coverage for living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.
OID’s Anti-Fraud Unit has sent investigators to Sand Springs and Moore.
They’ll be installing yard signs featuring OID’s consumer assistance phone number, and investigators are going door-to-door to help storm survivors avoid potential scams.
They are also sharing these tips on hiring service providers after a disaster:
- Don’t let anyone inspect your property without you watching. Some unscrupulous companies will cause damage to drive up the repair cost and your insurance company will likely not cover the additional cost.
- Never pay the entire repair bill in advance. Pay in full only when the work is completed according to your agreement.
- Be suspicious of anyone who offers to get you more money for your insurance claim.
- Look for an established, licensed company and request references.
- Ask to see certificates of insurance to be sure both liability and workers compensation insurance coverage is carried, and are in force during the time the repair work is being done.
- Insist on a detailed, written estimate clearly stating the quantity of materials needed (labor charges, work specifications) which include approximate starting and completion dates, payment procedures and that any necessary building permits are secured. Some scammers will trick you into signing a contract by saying it’s an estimate. The homeowner’s signature is not required to receive an estimate.
- Carefully review and understand any warranty and watch for conditions that would void it.
- Use caution (ask questions) before accepting a bid substantially lower than other bids covering the same repair work.
- Avoid high pressure sales tactics